Grazing exclusion reduced soil respiration but increased its temperature sensitivity in a Meadow Grassland on the Tibetan Plateau

Ji Chen, Xuhui Zhou, Junfeng Wang, Tracy Hruska, Weiyu Shi, Junji Cao, Baocheng Zhang, Gexi Xu, Yizhao Chen, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding anthropogenic influences on soil respiration (Rs) is critical for accurate predictions of soil carbon fluxes, but it is not known how Rs responds to grazing exclusion (GE). Here, we conducted a manipulative experiment in a meadow grassland on the Tibetan Plateau to investigate the effects of GE on Rs. The exclusion of livestock significantly increased soil moisture and above-ground biomass, but it decreased soil temperature, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), and Rs. Regression analysis indicated that the effects of GE on Rs were mainly due to changes in soil temperature, soil moisture, and MBC. Compared with the grazed blocks, GE significantly decreased soil carbon release by 23.6% over the growing season and 21.4% annually, but it increased the temperature sensitivity (Q10) of Rs by 6.5% and 14.2% for the growing season and annually respectively. Therefore, GE may reduce the release of soil carbon from the Tibetan Plateau, but under future climate warming scenarios, the increases in Q10 induced by GE could lead to increased carbon emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Grazing exclusion
  • Microbial biomass carbon
  • Plant productivity
  • Soil respiration
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Tibetan Plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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